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Annie Duke Looks at the Impact of Internet Poker Sites

23 February 2005

The resurgence in popularity of live poker, fueled by the cable television shows, has served as the impetus behind another forum for the game: the internet. The number of online poker sites has increased dramatically in the last several years and the number of people who play the game on line has increased proportionately.

Gambling online occupies a very "gray" area of legality. The sites are owned and operated in all offshore locations, a majority of them in the Caribbean. The United States government and its agencies are addressing the issue, but thus far no resolution has been reached, although it should happen within the next couple of years.

In the meantime, people are playing online poker by the tens of thousands. It creates an entirely different experience than the poker rooms in "brick and mortar" casinos. The game may be the same, but the fact you are not interacting face-to-face with the other players makes the playing experience and some of the strategies very different. It can be a far less intimidating atmosphere playing the game in the comfort of your own home.

If nothing else, the internet is creating new legions of poker fans that ultimately break away from the internet version and try their hand in live rooms against players they can see. In this respect, online poker is a veritable "training ground" for people who become captivated with the game and wish to take it to the next level.

Professional poker player Annie Duke, winner of the $2 million World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions, addressed the internet poker phenomenon when she was in Chicago last month for a special appearance:

"It (the internet) definitely has brought a lot more people into the game," she said. "It has opened up a whole world of play. There are players in live rooms today who have come from the online world. There's a fellow named Thomas Keller who plays on 'Ultimate Bet' who happens to be one of the most frequent players on that site. He actually branched out to live rooms at 23 years of age having really gotten his training online. Thomas won the $3,000 No Limit Hold'em event at the World Series.

"So you do have the online world generating some very good young players, and that's really the difference. Poker players for a long time really didn't peak until they were in their 30s. And it's really a sort of experiential component to poker just sitting at the table and understanding how cards flow and understanding how people act and having been there before. It takes a long time to get that kind of experience when you're restricted by the physical limitations of how long it takes to deal out a hand until it's over. In the live casino game, you only get a certain number of hands out per hour and you can only play one table at a time.

"You transfer that to online and all of a sudden people are playing four tables at a time and not only that, each table is dealing sometimes quadruple the hands that you can get in the real world. People can gain experience so much more quickly that's it creating some players who are very good at a very young age. It's really scary to think how good these people are going to be when they're 35 if they're this good when they're 23 years old now. You just never saw incredibly good 23 year olds. It just didn't happen because they just couldn't get the experience in order to become that good.

"There is the issue of online play being a little different in style, so they do have to make a transition. There have been some players who have been very good online who haven't been able to make the transition. That's true of poker in general. There are players who are very good Seven Card Stud players who can't transition to Hold'em. There are players who are incredibly good tournament players who, if you stick them in a regular cash game, they lose their shirts. So that's always been true. There are things that are particular to each form of the game and you have to able to transition among them. Some players are capable of doing that from online to brick and mortar and some aren't."

Annie Duke Looks at the Impact of Internet Poker Sites is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.
John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp